Kevin Durant of Golden State Warriors garners Finals MVP honors after 39 in clincher


OAKLAND, Calif. — It had been five seasons since Kevin Durant last reached the NBA Finals, a basketball eternity, but the star forward certainly made the most of his first trip since then, leading the Warriors to a championship — his first — while winning Finals MVP honors.

Durant, 28, received the honor Monday after the Warriors’ 129-110 Game 5 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Oracle Arena.

Durant finished with 39 points, seven rebounds and five assists on 14-for-20 shooting in 40 minutes. He averaged 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the Finals with a 55.6 field-goal percentage.

Durant lauded Golden State’s fans and the Bay Area community while accepting the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy.

“I’m just so happy to be a part of it, man,” Durant said in the ABC broadcast of the trophy ceremony. “I can’t wait to celebrate with my teammates in the locker room.”

Durant becomes just the third player since 1969 to win Finals MVP in their first season with a team. Moses Malone did it with the 76ers in 1983 while Magic Johnson did it in his rookie season with the Lakers in 1980. Durant also becomes the third player to win four NBA scoring titles and an NBA title, joining Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.

“We did it,” Durant said, when asked if he had any words for his mother, who was closeby. “I told you when I was 8 years old. We did it.”

Durant shot 70 percent in Game 5, the best field-goal percentage in a title-clinching win in NBA Finals history with a minimum 20 attempts and tied for the fifth-best overall, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

His 35.2 average was easily the most in history by a player to shoot 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line in an NBA Finals, in front of Penny Hardaway’s 25.5 in 1995 and Chauncey Billups’ 21.0 in 2004.

In one of the most debated moves in recent NBA history, Durant joined the Warriors in free agency last summer after spending nine seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who held a 3-1 series lead over the Warriors in last year’s Western Conference Finals but eventually lost.

Durant’s only other Finals appearance came in 2012, when the Thunder fell to the LeBron James-led Miami Heat, four games to one.

Information from ESPN’s Stats & Information was used in this report.